nervous breakdown (ner-vŭs brayk-down) n. a lay term applied to a range of emotional crises varying from a brief attack of ‘hysterical’ behaviour to a major mental illness with severe long-term effects on the life of the sufferer. The term is also sometimes used as a euphemism for a frank psychiatric illness, such as schizophrenia.
nervous breakdown Popular term for a mental and emotional crisis in which the person either is unable or feels unable to function normally. It is an imprecise term and refers to any of a range of conditions. See also mental disorder
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